Another $20m boost for arts sector to tide over Covid crisis

Arts freelancers and businesses will receive more support, as the Government pledges another $20 million to help the sector tide over the pandemic.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong yesterday announced a top-up to the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP), which will cover the cost of new grants for self-employed workers and business transformation, as well as extensions of other support.

This brings the total package to $75 million.

One new scheme is the Business Transformation Fund, which aims to help arts and culture organisations become more efficient and sustainable, Mr Tong told Parliament during his ministry's debate on its spending plans.

Groups can apply for a Business Transformation Grant (BTG), which will defray the cost of initiatives such as experimenting with new programmes or hiring consultants to monetise digital content.

It will provide up to $30,000 per project for an individual company and up to $200,000 per project in initiatives involving collaboration between groups, or that have potential for industry spin-offs.

One group thinking of applying for the BTG is The Theatre Practice, which has been streaming shows online since last May.

Its artistic director, Ms Kuo Jian Hong, 54, said the grant would fund research and development for a new "hardware and software solution" for artistes performing live.

It is working with programmers and engineers to build a system where performers in different locations can be captured remotely and livestreamed more effectively.

Also unveiled was the Self-Employed Person Grant for local freelancers and arts and culture groups that collaborate with them.

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Low Yen Ling said up to $50,000 will be awarded per project, which could include live performances, digital presentations or skills development.

Singapore Politics